Permanent vs. Semi-Permanent Hair Reduction | Radiance Laser Clinic

Permanent Hair Removal vs. Semi-Permanent Hair Reduction

What’s the big deal? What’s the difference?

We hear these terms all the time – so what’s the big deal?  Well….” permanent hair removal” and “permanent hair reduction” are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings when talking about methods of hair removal treatments. Understanding the differences between the two is essential for individuals seeking long-term solutions for unwanted hair growth.

  • Permanent Hair Removal:
    • Meaning: Permanent hair removal refers to the complete and permanent elimination of hair follicles, which will prevent future hair growth in the treated area.
    • Treatment Options? Electrolysis is the only method recognized by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) as providing permanent hair removal. This technique involves the insertion of a thin, sterilized probe into each individual hair follicle, delivering an electric current to destroy the hair at the root, making it impossible for the hair to regrow.
    • Effective Rate: Electrolysis is considered the gold standard for achieving permanent hair removal. However, it can be a time-consuming process, as each hair follicle has to be treated individually.
  • Permanent Hair Reduction:
    • Meaning: Permanent hair reduction indicates a significant and long-term reduction in hair growth but does not guarantee the complete elimination of all hair follicles.
    • Treatment Options? Laser Hair Removal is the most common method associated with permanent hair reduction. It uses concentrated light to target and damage hair follicles, reducing its ability to grow hair.
    • Effective Rate: Laser hair removal is highly effective in reducing hair growth and requires multiple sessions to achieve optimal results. Some individuals may experience regrowth over a period of time and can be affected by hormonal conditions, medications and some medical conditions.  Maintenance treatments may be required in future.
Hair Removal Technology

Key Differences:

  • Results: Permanent hair removal implies the absolute elimination of hair follicles, while permanent hair reduction signifies a substantial decrease in hair growth.
  • Treatment Types: Electrolysis is the main method associated with permanent hair removal, whereas Laser Hair Removal is commonly used for achieving permanent hair reduction.
  • Safety: Electrolysis is recognized by the FDA & Health Canada as a method for permanent hair removal. Laser hair removal, is FDA and Health Canada approved for permanent hair reduction, 
  • Time Commitment: Electrolysis can be a time-consuming process due to its precision, often requiring multiple sessions. Laser hair removal is quicker but requires multiple sessions for optimal and long-lasting results spaced out every 4-8 weeks depending on the treatment area.
  • Cost: Electrolysis can be the more costly option if only treating a large volume of hairs as treatments are offered in time intervals of 30-60 minutes.  Laser Hair Removal may be more affordable depending on the area to be treated and the number of treatments required

All of that to say this,  the choice between permanent hair removal and permanent hair reduction depends on your preference, tolerance for the treatment process, and the desired outcome. While electrolysis can treat all hair types and colours, laser hair removal cannot treat white, blonde or silver hairs.  Permanent hair reduction using laser hair removal is a widely accepted and effective method for achieving significant and lasting hair reduction. If you’re looking to begin your hair free journey, I welcome you to book a consultation with our qualified practitioners to determine the most suitable option based on their needs and expectations.

Chart comparing hair removal options
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